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2011 BMW X3

Overview
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2011 BMW X3 Review

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KBB Expert Rating: 7.8

The original BMW X3 "Sport Activity Vehicle" debuted in 2003, and was one of the pioneers of the luxury small crossover craze, influencing brands like Acura, Infiniti and Mercedes-Benz to follow in their footsteps. But the years took their toll on the X3. Although it continued to improve year after year, without a full redesign, it began to look a little less fresh compared to the competition's newer crop of vehicles. Here's the good news: That all changes with the 2011 BMW X3. It sports a fresh look, a sporty - but not overly harsh ride, and a host of new luxury and convenience features.

You'll Like This Car If...

If the 3 Series Sedan is a favorite but you'd like something with a hatch, an easier load-in height, and just a hint of ruggednesss, the X3 is worth a look.

You May Not Like This Car If...

Front and rear legroom are not one of the 2011 BMW X3's strongest suits. And, although the last generation X3 offered a manual transmission, this compact crossover only now comes in automatic transmission flavor, potentially upsetting diehard manual fans.

What's New for 2011

The 2011 BMW X3 offers more of everything: It's larger, more refined inside and out, comes with more standard equipment, more power underhood...and, in xDrive28i form, starts for less than the previous generation.

Driving the X3

Driving Impressions The X3, more so in this second-generation, is truly a taller 3 Series Sedan. And we mean that in a very positive way. With a sporty (but less harsh than...

the first generation) ride, great steering feel and the same 2.8-liter and twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter V6s found in the 3 Series Sedan, this crossover is sure to please the enthusiast in your soul. The manual transmission has been dropped for this generation, but the eight-speed automatic is no slouch, and offers paddle shifters along with Sport and Sport plus driving modes (which also adjust the chassis and throttle/steering responses) for those looking for a little more sportiness in their life.

Driving Dynamics Control
This optional system allows you to modify shock absorber firmness, engine throttle response, transmission shifting characteristics, power steering feel and stability/traction controls to suit your tastes. Choose normal, sport or sport plus to change how the X3 feels based on the road or your mood.

Head-Up Display
Available as an option, this system projects navigation directions and the speed the vehicle traveling onto the windshield, providing the driver with essential information without taking their eyes off the road.

2011 BMW X3 Details
Interior

Inside the 2011 BMW X3, you'll find tasteful wood trim, intuitive audio and climate controls, and comfortable, supportive seats. You'll also notice the standard iDrive and 8.8-inch information screens, an electronic parking brake as well as the same futuristic-looking automatic transmission shifter (you'll know what we mean when you see it) that's been introduced across the lineup. Although the 2011 BMW X3 sports larger dimensions, front and rear legroom isn't exactly generous.

Exterior

Although the 2011 BMW X3 still shares the same wedge shape as the previous generation, this new incarnation sports a much more muscular, rounded look. The headlights and fog lights have been pulled to the sides of the vehicle, the kidney-shaped grille is more robust -looking, and the wheel arches are aggressively flared. To borrow a word from the German product presentations we so often see, the X3 design is an exercise in "dynamism." We couldn't agree more.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

Mechanically, the X3 xDrive28i comes with a 3.0-liter in-line six engine mated to an automatic eight-speed transmission and puts power to pavement via a standard all-wheel drive system and 17-inch wheels. Inside, you'll find eight-way power front seats, silver matte trim, leatherette seating surfaces, a 60/40 split-folding rear seat, iPod connectivity, Bluetooth, HD Radio and the latest and greatest version of iDrive - which is much easier to use than previous iterations. The xDrive 35i ups the ante with a 3.0-liter twin-turbocharged in-line six, xenon adaptive headlights, chrome tailpipes, 18-inch wheels and Siena interior wood trim.

Optional Equipment

You can equip your X3 with niceties like heated seats, a navigation system, premium audio, leather seating and a panoramic moonroof, but perhaps the coolest option is to custom-order your car and watch it being built via a video from BMW. Opting to custom order makes other perks available including interior and exterior color choices not available on dealer's lots and the opportunity to fly to the BMW factory in Spartanburg, South Carolina, and take possession of your shiny new car. If you're feeling ambitious you can also can put your new car through its paces on both a race track and an off-road course across the street from the factory at the Performance Drive Center.

Under the Hood

The 2011 BMW X3 offers two engines: a 3.0-liter in-line six that produces 240 horsepower and 221 pound-feet of torque, and a 3.0-liter turbocharged in-line six that nets 300 horsepower and 300 pound-feet of torque. Both engines are mated to a responsive eight-speed automatic transmission with manual shift mode; Sadly, the manual transmission offered in the previous generation is not an option for this new iteration. BMW's third-generation intelligent all-wheel drive is standard across the lineup.

3.0-liter in-line 6
240 horsepower @ 6600 rpm
221 lb.-ft. of torque @ 2600-3000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 19/25

3.0-liter in-line 6 Turbocharged
300 horsepower @ 5800 rpm
300 lb.-ft. of torque @ 1200-5000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 19/26

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2011 BMW X3 Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
8.8
Out of 10

Based on 49 Ratings for the 2011 - 2015 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    8.6/10
    Quality
    9.2/10
  • Reliability
    9.0/10
    Performance
    9.2/10
  • Comfort
    8.9/10
    Styling
    9.1/10

Perfect Marriage of Utility and Performance

By on Tuesday, December 09, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 12,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Feels like a swiss vault when it shuts"

Cons: "Need better noise dampener at high speed"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"Rock solid vehicle. It has amazing power and acceleration thanks to the silky smooth eight speed transmission. The car feels solid and stable around curvy rounds even going 90 mph, something I would never have done in my other vehicle and though I do not recommend this for others. However, I was very impressed how this vehicle navigated those sweepy curves. I also drove this vehicle on an interstate during a snow storm with the standard all season tires that came with it. It handled like a well trained athlete. I was the only car driving through the snow in the left lane. I am not sure that the vehicle was better than others but it certainly game me confidence that the vehicle could deal with the snow. I also love the look of the vehicle's exterior and interior. The aesthetics is understated elegance, not over the top. It does not call attention to itself other than through the blue and white Rondell. The discreet aesthetic is another reason why I like the BMW. If I could got rid of the Rondell or the indentifiers that announce that it is a BMW, I would love it even more because I drive this car not for its status but because of how solidly it drives and perform. The 48mos/50K miles warranty also comes in handy because repairing this Ultimate Driving Machine can be costly. I love this vehicle more than I enjoyed my 2007 328i."

4 people out of 7 found this review helpful

Love, love this vehicle!

By on Tuesday, December 09, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 10,650

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "Fun to drive, good looking car"

Cons: "GPS need upgrade, cup holders"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8

"This was assembled in Germany/Austria and was shipped to me as a gift from my husband. I love the Flamenco color, so far I've only seen 2 of these in N. California. I Love the moon roof, you can open it halfway or all the way. This is a really good car for me but maintenance is quite expensive.The GPS,I did an upgrade but not quite impressed for a BMW car. Car has parking assist, steering wheel can be tilted,has fog lights,intermittent wipers and more. Car paint is still in very good condition, car has been garaged most of the time. I just drive it to and from work."

Beautiful design. BMW drivability.

By on Tuesday, December 02, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 10,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "Driving as Life is too short. Control knob"

Cons: "Rough riding."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 3

"Fun driving. Quality exterior and interior. Zips easily around town and drives great on the freeway. Has leased it for over a year with no problems. Master Control knob next to the gear shift is the ultimate in convenience and safety. Many other vehicle's controls are on the dash, having to push the glass screen, making it more difficult to control the radio, navigation etc. Comparing the exterior design of other luxury and mid-level SUV models, the X3 is far superior. The only downside is the ride which is not as smooth and not as quiet as other models which I would prefer. Secondly, having discussed BMW's with mechanics and other previous BMW owners, the major issue and concern is the future reliability and repair expense as the vehicle passes it's free 4 year BMW maintenance period. Just about all recommend not owning a BMW because it will be in the shop frequently at very high expense. As a result, I plan on buying either a Toyota Highlander or Lexus RX for reliability and smoothness and quietness of ride. The prices with all the options are within the same price range. Or being spoiled by it's drivability and control knob, I will lease a new X3 or X5 for the rest of my driving life...but never buying one."

1 person out of 1 found this review helpful

nice car to drive

By on Monday, November 24, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 20,000

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
8/10
Value
5/10
Reliability
8/10
Quality
8/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
8/10

Cons: "When the hybrid will be out for X3? or i3 is sub."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 7

"Pros: on 8 speed, it loves conserving gas. I drive alot on freeway, so that works. Internal parts, go to the bmw blogs bimmer.com to find facts and figures to get the right parts. Nice stereo system. Once you know how to change change oil and the filters is 2nd nature. Let the mechanic do the rest. Buy the extended warranty at the dealer up front when bargin a deal. It will cost more if you do it later. Your google and youtube is your resource to the manual. Other than that drive it like a regular car. Cons: At low speed on city street, and red light can drain the gas. Takes awhile to learn all the functions. Need some special tools if you want to do your own maintenance. Dealership is a pain and drain you if you do not know about BMW vehicles. German cars: word of wisdom: Get a used one is to save a buck around 30 - 40k miles and sell it near 100k miles. You do not want to know what will happen after 100k miles. Have to deal for a 2nd key fob. I say average MPG is 24 city/ freeway is 28. The navigator is useless. Just use your iphone connect it on bluetoth or usb. The tire computer gauge is annoying when one of the tires is low on run flat tires. There is no spare tires on new cars."

5 people out of 9 found this review helpful

Proud to own this car.

By on Thursday, October 23, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 18,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "fun to drive, runs like a scolded dog."

Cons: "no sunglass holder, no spare tire"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"The car is a blast to drive. Handling is excellent, performance is near the top of the pack for this catagory, gas milage is good (average about 22 mpg). It sits high enough that my wife and I, in our 60's can get in and out easily. Outstanding transmission. Might replace the run flat tires with regular tires for improved ride, which is a bit on the firm side. Only criticism is the AC which could be a bit stronger. Plenty of back seat room and rear storage is good. Has the best headlights of any car I have ever owned; will burn the paint off stop signs. Not a car for someone who wants a posh ride like a Lexus or Cadillac, but made for the driving enthusists. We picked the car up at the factory in South Carolina and the factory gave us the VIP treatment, spending a day showing us the capabilities of the car. So far no problems with this car. Would buy it again!"

14 people out of 23 found this review helpful

2015 X3 xdrive28i

By on Wednesday, September 03, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 4,600

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Quick, Fuel efficient, and comfortable"

Cons: "None so far"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"Traded in a 2013 Ford Edge Ecoboost for the 2015 X3, same horsepower numbers, entirely different driving experience. Ordered the vehicle from my local BMW dealer and got it exactly the way I wanted (M Sport package, Premium package, Nav system, driver's assistance package, Harmon Kardon audio), had to wait almost 3 months, due to ordering right when the 2015 became available. First impressions are very good, have had the vehicle for slightly over 3 months. Handling is great for a near mid-size SUV, it corners like a 3 series sedan. Acceleration is very good in Sport mode (acceptable in Comfort mode as well and it saves on fuel), no discernible turbo lag, the 4 cylinder is a great engine. Have taken it on a long family trip and returned an average of 25-28 mpg (this is with a full cargo hold of luggage). Cargo space was more that adequate for 3 people and their luggage (along with all the stuff a 4 year old drags with). The M Sport seats are worth their weight in gold, no fatigue even from 12 hour stints in the vehicle. This is my first luxury brand car (not my first German vehicle) and I am very pleased with it. Depending on how this vehicle holds up reliability wise, I may become a BMW buyer from here on out. (Side note: I am a female, but a car nerd, and horsepower and handling matter more to me than the amount of cup holders or vanity mirrors)."

18 people out of 24 found this review helpful

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Trading in or Selling? Know where you stand with the most up-to-date Kelley Blue Book Value at your fingertips. See your car's value

Buying this car?